• The Financial District

INTERNET-BASED SURGE

A total of 75,029 online businesses have registered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) from January to August this year, according to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez .

Lopez bared the surge at a Senate hearing on internet-based businesses .


He said there were 73,276 online businesses that registered between March 16 and August 31.


Registration of online entrepreneurs from January to March 15 this year only reached 1,753, he said.


In July, DTI reported that total online business registration in the first seven months of the year reached 37,000. This means registration of online businesses quickly doubled in one month and hit the 75,000-mark.


However,  Lopez said there also had been a surge in consumer complaints.


From 2,457 complaints related to online transactions in 2019, complaints filed with the DTI in the first eight months of the year reached 12,630, the trade chief added.


“The quadruple increase of this is attributed to the surge of online transactions due to the pandemic. The highest number of complaints, around 8,000, was during the months of April and May when the strictest level of community quarantine was in all areas. Due to the limited movement of people, consumers heavily relied on online shopping,” Lopez said.


He reiterated DTI’s support to pass the Internet Transactions Act to boost the country’s e-commerce law.


“The proposed Act will support the government’s, at least, for the government's role of enabling businesses and protecting consumers,” Lopez said.


Lopez added the bill will enable the growth of e-commerce in the country and support the digitalization of the micro, small, and medium enterprises.


This will also establish a regulatory framework for internet transactions, he said. 


“(It’s a) path for DTI to address regulatory gaps in the field of e-commerce, or when it is unclear whether existing regulatory agencies could exercise jurisdiction over emerging businesses,” he said. 


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